TOTAL is the largest refiner in Western Europe(1).
Western Europe accounts for 79% of the Group’s refining capacity, i.e., 1,736 kb / d at year-end 2014 and year-end 2013 compared to 1,742 kb / d at year-end 2012. The Group operates eight refineries in Western Europe (one in Antwerp, Belgium, five in France in Donges, Feyzin, Gonfreville, Grandpuits and La Mède, one in Immingham in the United Kingdom and one in Leuna, Germany) and owns stakes in the Schwedt refinery in Germany, the Zeeland refinery in the Netherlands and the Trecate refinery in Italy through its interest in TotalErg.
The Group’s main petrochemical sites are located in Belgium, in Antwerp (steam crackers, aromatics, polyethylene) and Feluy (polyolefins, polystyrene), and in France, in Carling (steam cracker, aromatics, polyethylene, polystyrene), Feyzin (steam cracker, aromatics), Gonfreville (steam crackers, aromatics, styrene, polyolefins, polystyrene) and Lavéra (steam cracker, aromatics, polypropylene). Western Europe accounts for 50% of the Group’s petrochemicals capacity, i.e., 10,909 kt at year-end 2014 compared to 10,899 kt at year-end 2013 and 11,803 kt at year-end 2012. The decrease in 2013 was due essentially to the closure of one steam cracker in Antwerp.
In France, the Group owns five refineries and continues to adapt its refining capacities by shifting the production emphasis to diesel and improving operational efficiency against the backdrop of a structural decline in the demand for petroleum products in Europe and an increase in gasoline surpluses.
The Group implemented its industrial plan intended to reconfigure the Gonfreville refinery in Normandy, France, between 2009 and 2014 to upgrade the refinery and shift the production emphasis to diesel. For this purpose, the investments resulted in reducing the annual distillation capacity to 12 Mt from 16 Mt, upsizing the hydrocracker unit for heavy diesel cuts and improving energy efficiency by lowering carbon dioxide emissions. Most of the new configuration was rolled out at the beginning of 2013 after a complete shutdown of the refinery. The project was completed in August 2014 with the startup of a new diesel desulfurization unit. Lastly, in November 2014, the Group announced a project to modernize the specialties production scheme of the Normandy complex, including a decrease in the base oils production capacity and an investment in the linear polyethylene (LPE) production line.
At the same time, the project to modernize petrochemical operations on the Normandy platform was completed in early 2012. This project improved the energy efficiency of the steam cracker and the high-density polyethylene unit.
In petrochemicals, the Group announced an investment plan in September 2013 for the Carling platform in Lorraine, France, to adapt its capacity and restore its competitiveness. The project provides for the development of new hydrocarbon resin and polymer production activities and the shutdown of the steam cracking activity in the second half of 2015.
In Germany, TOTAL holds equity stakes in the Leuna (100%) and Schwedt (16.7%)(1) refineries.
In petrochemicals, in February 2015, the Group acquired the majority stake in Polyblend, a German manufacturer of polyolefin compounds used mainly in the automotive industry. This acquisition will enable synergies to be developped with the Carling site, located 150 km away.
In Belgium, the Group announced the launch of a major project in 2013 to modernize its Antwerp platform. This project consists of two parts:
the construction of new conversion units in response to the shift in demand towards lighter oil products with a very low sulfur content, and
the construction of a new unit to convert part of the combustible gases recovered from the refining process into raw materials for petrochemical units.
As part of this modernization plan, two of the site’s oldest production units were shut down: a steam cracker in 2013 and a polyethylene production line in November 2014. TOTAL built a unit in Feluy, which started up in 2014, that produces latest-generation expandable polystyrene for the fast-growing insulation market.
Moreover, in 2012, TOTAL acquired 35% of Fina Antwerp Olefins, thus becoming the sole owner of Europe’s second largest base petrochemicals (monomers) production plant(2), renamed Total Olefins Antwerp.
In the United Kingdom, in February 2015, TOTAL launched a plan to adapt and secure the future of its Lindsey refinery. In addition to shutting down one of the two crude distillation units and associated units, which will reduce its capacity by 5 Mt / y, the plan entails revamping the conversion block, adapting logistics operations and simplifying the refinery’s organization. The initial outlay will be $50 million, followed by an investment of $220 million over the next five years for maintenance and other improvements required to comply with changing regulations.
In 2013, TOTAL shut down its 70 kt / y polystyrene production site at Stalybridge, while continuing its commercial activity for polymers.
In Italy, TotalErg (49%) holds a 24.45% stake in the Trecate refinery. The Rome refinery, which was wholly-owned by TotalErg, was converted into a depot in 2012.
(1) Based on publicly available information, 2012 refining capacities and quantities sold.
(2) Based on publicly available information, production capacities at year-end 2012.